The 27th April marks the day in South Africa on which the first free elections were held in 1994: Freedom Day, is how the government consecrated the event. The end of Apartheid has been followed by arrangements that are less detestable, but not by much. Inequality is up in what was, by state policy, one of the world’s most persistently unequal societies. Not to worry, you might counter. If inequality is increasing, it’s not because the poor are getting poorer, but that there’s a few people getting richer – an augury of redistribution and high income for all. But the poor are getting poorer. As this report suggests, “50 percent of South African households lived on less than R2 899 per month for a household of eight in 2004, up from 40 percent in 1994.”
In Durban this year, the 27th is being marked as UnFreedom Day by a number of Durban-based social movements, including the Shackdwellers, the South Durban Environmental Action Coalition and the Concerned Citizen’s Forum. You can read more by downloading a bilingual flyer, a press release in English or Zulu, or an excellent 1.4MB pamphlet.